Saudis Invited to Inform on Qatar Sympathizers via Twitter ‘Blacklist’

Published August 19th, 2017 - 09:48 GMT
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (AFP)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (AFP)

Saudis are being encouraged to dob in their Qatar-sympathizing countrymen via a Twitter hashtag.

An advisor to the royal court, Saud al-Qahtani, tweeted on Friday to request that Saudis “put any names you think should be added to #TheBlacklist on the hashtag”.

Al-Qahtani added that those included on the “blacklist” would “be followed from now”.

On June 5 Saudi Arabia, along with allies the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea embargo, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Responding to al-Qahtani's call, some Saudis began adding names to the blacklist. One account belonging to news site KSA News suggested several names in a series of tweets, including Yasser Abu Hilala, Director General of Doha-based Al Jazeera.

Closing down Al Jazeera was one of a list of 13 demands handed to Qatar by the blockading states.

Meanwhile, others expressed support for the “black list”.

 

The Saudi minister was soon backed-up by the Bahraini and Emirati foreign ministers.

 

Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s state minister for foreign affairs, tweeted that “brother Saud al-Qahtani is an important voice in the Qatar crisis... and his tweet about the ‘blacklist’ is extremely important.”

 

The Emirates had already introduced a 15-year prison sentence and $13,500 fine for anyone expressing sympathy with Qatar. Emirati Ghanem Abdullah Mattar was arrested in July for a video allegedly sympathizing with his Qatari neighbors. 

 

The Bahraini Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed, added “Every terrorist, and every terrorist supporter, and every mercenary and spy, their place is #TheBlacklist.”
 
However, the 'blacklist' faced considerable criticism online. One Kuwaiti, @Kuwait_okk, accused al-Qahtani of violating human rights and Twitter policy through his tweets.
 
Another wrote:

One Qatari, @Hamdatov, suggested that al-Qahtani “and his crew” add themselves to the list, while @mohdalsuwaidi7 requested to be added himself, suggesting the list “looks like great company”.

This is not the first time al-Qahtani has further stirred Gulf tensions with his online activity. Last week, Qataris launched the hashtag “Saudi minister threatens to invade Qatar” in response to a series of inflammatory Tweets by al-Qahtani


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